(12:45 p.m. EST) -- Cruise Critic members are reacting strongly to the news that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) raised its warning for cruise ship travel to the highest level over the weekend, ranking it a "very high level of COVID-19".
The CDC's warning, applicable only to U.S. citizens, recommends that those who choose to cruise should get tested for COVID-19 three to five days afterwards and stay home for seven days, regardless of whether the test comes back negative or not.
It is the latest salvo from the CDC towards the cruise industry since the global health pandemic began in March. On October 30, the CDC lifted its long-standing "No-Sail" order and replaced it with a new "Framework for Conditional Sailing" that was supposed to aid the industry in a safe return to operations.
Many cruise lines have already suspended all operations well into next year.
Reactions from Cruise Critic's board members to the CDC's new guidance has been swift.
"Not sure why the CDC decided at this time to raise to a Level 4, when no passenger cruises have cruised out of the US in months," writes sandebeach. "Perhaps a reaction to the Seadream Covid cases?"
"All this does is further people's opinions that cruise ships are "petri dishes" and instill fear towards cruising in those people," writes hallux. " I agree that considering there are no cruises even allowed to sail there should have been no change in the recommendation."
"We can't go to Canada, but per the CDC, it's safe to go to Mongolia," writes livingonthebeach in response to what else is in the Level 4 category as defined by the CDC.
"It seems that the virus has been managing to spread throughout the US and the rest of the world well enough without needing the odd cruise ship case to help things along," writes D C.
Other stated that the CDC's warning was more likely tied to a rise in cases in the United States, though no similar guidance has been offered by the CDC for airlines that continue to
of travelers in the run-up to the American Thanksgiving holidays.
"While it may indeed have been that the CDC lifted the No Sail Order under political pressure, this escalation of warning level appears to be more tied to the recent dramatic increase of Covid-19 in the US rather anything specifically related to cruising," writes Earthworm Jim. "It's riskier now because the country as a whole is riskier now, in other words."
Several posters stated they felt bewildered by the rapidly-changing guidance from the CDC with regards to testing for COVID-19.
"What I don't understand is that they are saying if we do cruise we need to get tested when we get back and still quarantine for 7 days," writes BermudaBound2014. "I thought the recommended quarantine was 3 days after testing negative? Of course, they are recommending 14 days quarantine upon return if you don't get tested. The guidelines change quickly."
Other posters were more pessimistic in their outlook for the future of cruise.
"Seems like the scrappers are going to be the only ones on ships for a long time," writes Stick93.
Cruise Critic will update this story as more information becomes available.